If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it—I might be writing in my dreams. ~Terri Guillemets
On a crisp, invigorating after-dinner walk throughout my neighborhood, stretching across the main way and down the winding path carefully lined with trees and showcasing the nature sights and sounds of early spring, I thought a lot about routine and discipline. Around the house, I have my routine down. The kids and I have our daily expectations and good fun—we’re in the flow. My writing routine, however it starts the same, I’m lacking the discipline that finds me at my desk each and every day at the same time. I’m definitely getting better at it, but I know that I need to work diligently on putting forth more effort to reach my writing goals. A daily routine—one that is a set schedule would be ideal and comforting, to be honest. But the nature of writing when your main responsibility is to care for three young children won’t allow for such a luxury. So, without complaint and instead filled with eagerness to write more often, I’m learning to adjust expectations but without putting writing aside.
In thinking about how to better utilize my time and energy to write, I pondered the stories I’ve read before of famous writers and how they made the time to write and further thought that it would be beneficial to learn of the writing routines of not-so-famous writers, too—the discipline of today’s eager writers. The writers whose challenges are the same as mine. The writers struggling to make it as a writer. The writers who might turn out to be the authors our children will consider the great ones when they’ve reached adulthood. Do these everyday writers pour tea at home and reheat as needed as they wait for their laptop to warm up and beckon them to another blank screen? Do the mother-writers in our midst seek out a comfy coffee shop with an abundance of hot coffee to sip while their children are at school and it’s too quiet now to write at home? What of the background noise? I wonder if newbie writers listen to one soundtrack on shuffle and repeat as they type away. Or, perhaps they work better to a random Pandora station playing softly in the background, or maybe these writers type in silence except to the beat of the typical sounds of a home during the day? Who of you rise early in the morning to churn out a few pages before the first child awakes for breakfast? Perhaps, you prefer to write all through the night to the twinkling stars outside the windowpane free from all distractions or contact that might disrupt the free flow of words? Myself, I am constantly changing what I need in order to write. The space, time, and background are all dependent on the type of writing I’m working on and the mood and temperature of my busy home and family inside. My tea mug, however, is always the same.
These personal stories continue to amaze, interest, and intrigue me to no end. Why do they write? What surroundings are ideal to get their writing juices flowing? Are they quirky about their writing habits, intensely particular about their routine, even a little neurotic in their method? In researching this very topic, I came across a blog from an author who turned his “Sunday afternoon idea” into a book about to be published on April 26, 2013. Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals, How Artists Work will celebrate the myriad of habits and routines of writers and other creative geniuses, presenting a unique window into their work spaces, and quite possibly, their inner-selves. You can read more about this highly anticipated book by visiting the author’s website at http://masoncurrey.com/daily-rituals. I, for one have just added Mr. Currey’s book to my must-read list at Goodreads and can’t wait for its debut.
I love a good writer’s story about personal diligence, duty, and discipline. And I want to read more of them! So, tell me. What’s the story behind your writing routine?